The facade is truly imposing and its scale almost incongruous to the size of the town it is located at. I am curious whether the rather folksy interior painting (walls and ceilings) were recent additions, and if they are, when were these applied. There were traces of the more appropriate (original?) trom d’oeil decorations in the arches above the pillars, , but had been almost subjugated by the colorful and bright (more recent?) paintings.
according to the tayabenses, instead of painting the interior frescoes with contemporary paint, they decided to build another contra-ceiling to cover the old, until they find funds to restore the ceiling by paete’s artisans.
I was uprooted from my birthplace of Tayabas at the age of 9 in 1971 in order to study in Manila. I was baptized with the same name, and received my first communion in this same church of St. Michael Archangel, which is now a basilica. To the best of my memory, the interior lighting of this church always seem to be lacking. The “frescoes” were cracking off, and layered with dust and soot; the nooks and crannies a refuge for birds. The church was also a convenient refuge from the simmering summer heat when empty of parishioners. It’s always crowded during mass and fiestas. I thought it was always cool inside being surrounded by the thick adobe walls, and stone floor. I just went there this Christmas 2009 but due to an emergency situation was not able to visit our dear old basilica. Your picture above refreshed so many details that have long been lost in my memory; and I guess somebody finally cut down the forest that have been growing in the windows and openings that allowed the sunlight through the interiors. But I will not forget about my friends and I would dip our fingers in the coconut oil lamp at the bottom of steps leading to the altar. We will coat our faces and arms with the aromatic, and soothing coconut oil kept warm by the lighted wick.
My grandmother was Salome Mora Alandy Sumilang from Tayabas born in 1911. Any idea if you, Michael Mora are related? I’m curious to know more about the family history before they immigrated to California in the 1960s.